Today is a beautiful day in Colorado. I am visiting Ben. His life has settled into a routine in the beautiful Colorado neighborhood where he lives. As the months unfold, Ben is still struggling with memory. As predicted, because of the severity of Ben's injury, his capacity for remembering what happens day to day remains impaired. His post injury amnesia has remained which is a poor prognostic sign for long independent term recovery. Behavior issues are better, but often there is no "filter" and things slip out of his mouth that are better left unsaid. He can't process steps to a goal and his stated goals seem out of reach.
As I write this, it may sound kind of grim. It isn't. Ben is making progress. He is learning.The skilled staff around him work with him everyday on the things he needs to know. Ben diligently works on the lessons developed for TBI patients. He has developed amazing relationship with the residents in the house and the staff. He is out and about in the community everyday and is involved in the shopping and maintenance in his house. Ben lives to engage people as he moves through his day. He is joyful and talks to everyone he meets. He loves Colorado and spends lots of time outdoors.
Our weekend together consisted of shopping, going to restaurants, getting a haircut, and attending church. With a smile on his face, Ben lavishly complimented the waiter at the restaurant chosen for dinner. Conversation moved toward Ben's accident. Ben told the young man that the Lord had saved him and shared details of the accident. The waiter sat down with a shocked expression and stated that he had lost a dear friend to a motorcycle accident 2 1/2 years ago. He told Ben to come in anytime and ask for him. The conversation was very emotional. The hairdresser, according to Ben, was the best ever and he told her so. At church, the pastor's came up to meet me and a church member was so moved by Ben that he gave me his contact information in case I needed any help for Ben with Jim and I so far away. The clerk at Kohl's department store from the previous day's shopping, came up to us at church with a smile and a welcome. Customers in the store shared a story about a family member with TBI and encouraged Ben. The check out associate told us how encouraging it was to meet Ben. She loved his story. As I sit in the airport waiting to return to Houston, Ben is texting me, "THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR COMING TO SEE ME!!!! I am so happy!!!" No, he is not exactly where I would wish in recovery. He IS in a good place, however. He ministers to others through his story and even through his disabilities. It will be for good.
The purpose of this blog is to show how faith, my professional training and a healthy sense of humor taught me and continues to teach me that Jesus Christ is always in control. I am a fellow learner as this journey for my child unfolds. My wish is that Ben's legacy gives others hope where there seems to be none. It is also my desire that the information I have assimilated with my medical mind and filtered through a mother's heart gives practical ways to deal with this ever-changing chronic disease. Finally, for the many friends and family members who continue to follow Ben's life change after the injury, the story continues.